Web design can be complicated, given you must consider many elements when creating a website. When it comes to designing websites for other companies versus your own, it’s important to consider external factors like the brand’s mission, its theme, and overall aesthetic. To better prepare yourself for the world of web design, it’s important to become familiar with the top dos and don’ts of mastering website development.
Here are a few things to consider:
Easy to Navigate
Perhaps one of the most important elements of UX (user experience) is the visitor’s ability to navigate the website. Navigation is the foundation of usability, and knowing how to place certain elements like anchors effectively can make all the difference.
Navigation on your site should be a few things: simple, clear, and consistent. What we mean by simple is implementing a clear structure where the user doesn’t get lost trying to find a page. Navigation options should also be clear and self-evident for visitors, so they’re not stuck playing the guessing game. When we talk about consistency, we mean that the navigation function should be the same as the home page across the entire website.
Maintaining this type of clarity, consistency, and simplicity helps keep the visitor on your website longer, lowers bounce rates, and increases the chance of conversions!
When users visit your site, they’re likely searching for a specific section or page. As a website designer, it’s your job to make the website scanning more successful by creating the right visual hierarchy. In other words, creating the right order or presentation of elements in a way that demonstrates its importance.
For example, a bold title screams "priority," while smaller text can mean the opposite. Using elements like hyperlinks and images can also direct the user to another page or source, a place where you want them to be. By designing login forms, subscription buttons, and other components that can attract the eye, it is easier to "control" what the user will see and where they should focus.
Verify Your Links
Errors like 404 or 401 can really frustrate any user attempting to find something on a website. When users are searching for content, they expect valid links that will lead them to a specific answer or more information. When visitors click on a link that has an error, they can immediately become more irritable and lose trust in your site’s credibility. Make sure to double-check all of your links throughout the website’s content to ensure proper navigation and accessibility.
To do this, make sure to create a checklist of each service page on the website and go through them one by one. Anything that is considered clickable like a word or a button should be checked for any errors.
Make Visitors Wait
Loading your website content should be quick and effective. The more users have to wait to load another page or homepage, the more likely they will leave. The attention span or patience of our new generation is quite small, averaging about three seconds.
When visitors have to wait for a website to load, they will become irritated, and look for another option where they can find relevant information. To decrease loading time, make sure your website images are compressed and that you don’t have any heavy components that can affect processing. Long videos and other large files can make or break your loading time, so watch out for these as well. Last but not least, run regular speed tests to ensure the proper functioning and loading of your site.
Remember how frustrated you get when navigating a website full of pop-ups? Welcome to the marketing world. While we definitely want to share our service/product promotions with a user, we don’t want them to run away.
Promotions and ads can overshadow much of the content that would have otherwise helped users accomplish important tasks. Note that anything that looks remotely like an ad has been shown to be ignored by users, something known as banner blindness. Bottom line, do not design a website that looks like a giant ad; this is extremely counter-intuitive.
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